Behind the Scenes of the ‘Magnum P.I.’ Reboot With the Cast & Crew (PHOTOS)

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“The essence of the show will be the same,” confirms executive producer Peter Lenkov, who has also helmed successful updates of Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver for CBS. “We’ve looked for anything we could do to keep the original building blocks while making this feel like it deserves to exist in 2018.” We’ll drink an Old Dusseldorf longneck to that!

Karen Neal/CBS

“I drive a stick shift, so this is in my wheelhouse,” says Hernandez (shooting the pilot, directed by Fast and Furious alum Justin Lin) of the sleuth’s vintage Ferrari. As for the real owner of the car? It’s from the fleet belonging to Magnum’s never-seen employer, Robin Masters. (In the first incarnation, he was voiced by Orson Welles.) Lenkov says he’s holding off on casting that role for now, since his dream “get” is currently on another CBS series: “I’m going to wait for the day when Blue Bloods is done and beg and plead Tom Selleck to be that voice!”

Magnum, P.I.
CBS via Getty Images

Tom Selleck (now in patriarch mode on CBS’s long-running Blue Bloods) was the original Thomas Magnum in the 1980-88 CBS hit crime drama.

Karen Neal/CBS

When not busy helping his pal Magnum out of jams, T.C. (Stephen Hill) runs Island Hoppers, a helicopter tour company on Oahu. (And yes, a Hawaii Five-0 crossover is already in the works.)


Isn’t it bromantic? Magnum is closely bonded to both T.C. and Rick (Knighton), a crafty nightclub owner. With good reason: The trio of vets survived Afghanistan — and a POW nightmare — together. “Coming into this, I was like, ‘Who are my boys going to be?’ Because that’s a big part of the dynamic,” says Hernandez. “I love these guys already. We spend every day off set with each other!”


This time around, Higgins — the cantankerous majordomo of Robin’s Nest, formerly played by the late John Hillerman — is Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks, with steadicam operator Larry “Doc” Karmen), a former MI6 agent. Naturally, Magnum will get under her skin… but could their sparring lead to romance? Teases Lenkov, “We have to get her to respect him first!”

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Don’t bother looking out for that signature ’stache.

When CBS debuts Magnum P.I. — its reboot of the 1980–88 crime drama starring charismatic Tom Selleck — Jay Hernandez will be stepping into the role of Thomas Magnum sporting only a modest goatee. “Giving me a moustache would have backfired!” says Hernandez. “You can’t replace Tom.”

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Fair enough, but plenty of other iconic elements are coming back, like the ex–Navy SEAL turned private eye’s absurdly luxe surroundings. (For the uninitiated: Magnum lives in a guest cottage at Robin’s Nest, the Hawaiian estate of a wealthy, enigmatic novelist, where he moonlights as a security consultant.)

Click through the gallery above for a BTS look at the new CBS drama.